- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Go cold turkey and never go back! Quit smoking now.
Just looking at the image above made some lousy memories resurface. There were times when I would dive into an ashtray just like that one, looking for a rescuable dose of nicotine. I wouldn't care who had smoked it, I didn't care if it was disgusting, I needed those couple puffs. That is why one day I said "Enough!"
I started smoking in 1999, just before I started high school. By 2001 I was smoking a pack a day. Years passed before I even thought of quitting. The first time was in 2008, when my parents suggested I started a treatment with Chantix (well, Champix here in Mexico). I decided to give it a try. The pill worked just as it should, blocking the effect cigarettes had on my brain. After a few days with Champix, I stopped smoking and stayed completely smoke free for weeks.
Gradually, the joy of being free from nicotine started fading, and the side effects of the medication became more and more annoying. So I said to myself, "I don't feel the need to smoke anymore, so I might as well stop taking this stuff." And just like that, I was off Champix and off smoking. But then I was ambushed for the first time by something I like to call the addicted subconscious.
"Well, now that you are no longer addicted, you can have one now and then, can't you?" Back then, I believed that statement firmly. Before long, I was smoking a full pack again. So, it took me a few months before I tried quitting again. The next time, I would try using nicotine gum.
But every time I tried to quit, the addicted subconscious would set me a trap:
"Life is too hard right now. Why add such a huge stress like quitting smoking? Let's wait until later."
"You stopped smoking for 10 days! That's great. Now you have proven yourself that you can quit anytime you want. Give smoking one last month and then quit for good."
"Life is so short and you have to live to the fullest. Do you really want to feel this deprived for the rest of your life? C'mon, you know you want it!"
And I always got back to smoking. Nicotine gum didn't help much. I could go through the cravings with it, but those cravings never stopped. I needed nicotine and gum is just a lousy way of delivering it.
Recently, I started reading about going cold turkey, on a site called www.whyquit.com. By this time, smoking had become a lot less pleasurable.
- I could feel my throat burning after a long day of smoking.
- I could feel my blood pressure rising after a few cigarettes.
- I was always tired,
- I was coughing up brown phlegm.
- I was getting gingivitis (swollen, bleeding gums).
- Colds lasted for weeks.
Without setting a quit date, or giving it too much thought, I smoked my last cigarette and flung the still lit butt on to the street. I was quitting for good this time and I was going to go cold turkey.
At first I thought it would be too hard, but what I had read was right. After the first few days, the cravings diminished radically, and I could focus on relearning to live my life without cigarettes. Also, I wasn't spending anything on smoking cessation products.
Truly, I would recommend this approach to anyone who is seriously trying to quit. You feel entirely in control of yourself and your self esteem gets a great boost. Of course, if you are trying other approaches, by all means, stick with whatever works for you.
Of course, my other quit attempts taught me a lot, and I wouldn't have made it far without that experience. My addicted subconscious still tries to seduce me back into smoking, but I've learned know to recognize its voice and to ignore it, and it becomes easier every time.
I would like to sign out with a quote I saw on an anti-smoking campaign once:
"It's hard to quit smoking. It's even harder not to."